December 21, 2013
Assistant Managing Editor
YELLOW SPRINGS — The new year will bring in some big changes at Antioch University Midwest.
Midwest President Dr. Ellen Hall will be saying good-bye and the school will be welcoming a new president, Dr. Karen Schuster Webb. Hall, who has been with the school since January of 2011, is happy and proud of the goals she was able to accomplish during her tenure.
“I’ve worked with the faculty and personnel and tried to help make their works lives become better. I’m most proud of the master’s of education program, which has become stronger. I’ve hired some new people that have brought new life to the institution. I’m most proud when I see the graduates. It’s amazing to see them at commencement. They’ve given up things. They have lives and children and they’ve achieved a degree which is really something,” Hall said.
Before coming to Antioch, Hall had various stints at colleges and universities all across the country. Her appointment at Antioch was meant to be a interim position, and she said that that is one reason why she is moving on.
“I have a home in New York and an interim president shouldn’t stay forever. My family isn’t going to move here, and it’s time for the university to have a president who is going to commit and stay here long term,” Hall said.
Hall said that she will miss her colleagues the most as well as the students. She said moving from school to school can be difficult because it’s always hard to say good-bye to coworkers and friends. She plans to take a break after her term is up and plans to focus on her creative side. Photography and gardening are on Hall’s to-do list. She expressed that beyond Antioch, she is going to miss the Miami Valley area.
“I really liked it in Ohio. I’ve enjoyed it here. I like the Dayton area, and I love Yellow Springs. The metro park system is wonderful and the restaurants are good. It’s an area that’s maturing and really reinventing itself so that’s exciting. Antioch is a very special institution. It’s sort of a pinnacle for me,” she said.
Hall has been showing Webb the ropes at the institution. Webb has been serving as provost and vice president of academic affairs since November is thankful for Hall’s guidance.
“It’s been a joy to work with Ellen. She’s been so kind and generous with all her expertise. It’s given all of us a wonderful foundation,” Webb said.
Like Hall, Webb has experience with schools all over the country. Since 2000, she has worked for Alliant International University, a private nonprofit institution that focuses on graduate education and includes multiple campuses in California and abroad. From 2000 to 2009, she was a professor and the founding university dean of the Shirley M. Hufstedler School of Education. From 2009 to present she has served as associate provost for community engagement. Also like Hall, Webb was attracted to Antioch because of its commitment to its mission.
“I not only believe in the social justice, but I loved the commitment I saw Antioch having to its students, to changing the world, to transforming lives. It was the faculty, staff, Ellen and the board of trustees. You can’t help but be drawn to have the opportunity to serve Antioch University. A lot of institutions play lip service to their mission, but they not only embody it but also deliver it,” Webb said.
Webb has worked with with adult learners extensively, which is another reason she was attracted to the position. Prior to joining Alliant International University, Webb held teaching and academic leadership positions at Southern University and A&M College, the University of Kentucky, Howard University, George Washington University, Indiana University-Bloomington, and Coppin State University. She earned a PhD in applied linguistics: English education, a master of science degree in education, urban and overseas English, and a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish from Indiana University-Bloomington.
She hopes to make Antioch University Midwest a place that students can come to in order to get a degree or just a new skill set. She admits that she can’t do it alone.
“As a team, because I can’t do it myself, I want to make this university a destination for adult learners who are seeking opportunity. We are looking at getting students careers and we’re looking at multiple pathways,” she said.
Webb’s agenda for the new year will focus on serving students and faculty, as well as creating new partnerships in the community.
“We are looking for partnerships. That is key. We are looking for places where students can really apply their preparation. We want more practicum, more internships and more real-world experience. I want to keep up with the needs of our students and earn the respect and trust of the Antioch University community as we move toward striving to be even more successful. I believe leadership is earned and when you come into someplace new, I think you need to to build a team that’s going to move the institution forward,” she said.
Webb has been a leader in her fields of study and has spoken at conferences nationally and internationally. She has published numerous articles on urban education and teaching, bilingual education, and speaking and writing. Additionally, she has been very active with professional organizations and currently serves on six boards and as the World Council of Curriculum and Instruction’s representative to the United Nations Department of Public Information.
Hall said she was extremely happy with the choice of Webb as the new president for Antioch Midwest. Antioch University Chancellor Felice Nudelman also believes that Webb will be an asset for the institution.
“She’s a great addition to Antioch. She lives the mission and brings a breadth of leadership and experience,” Nudelman said.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, Webb will formally assume the presidency when Hall retires. Hall also had a bit of advice for Webb.
“Your voice as president carries more weight than you thought was possible. You have to be very careful how to express yourself. Leadership is helping people along and realizing that what you say may not be taken the way you mean it,” Hall said.
Webb hopes to focus on the university’s mission and possibly give some guest lectures. Even as an administrator, Webb believes the focus should always be on the students.
“I think in administration we want to stay connected to the heart of the institution which is our students,” she said.
For more information, visit Antioch University Midwest’s website at http://midwest.antioch.edu/.